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BJP demands probe into 'payment' to Virbhadra

PTI  New Delhi, October 13, 2012
First Published: 19:05 IST(13/10/2012) | Last Updated: 20:27 IST(13/10/2012)

Alleging that the ruling party is becoming synonymous with corruption, BJP on Saturday charged there was ample evidence against Congress leader Virbhadra Singh for receiving money from a private steel firm and demanded an immediate probe into the matter.

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"Everyday a new skeleton of corruption tumbles out of the Congress closet. The latest in this series is VBS. The then steel minister is suspected to have received Rs. 2.28 crore illegally from a private firm... As it is an issue of quid pro quo arrangement, it needs to be investigated immediately," said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.

He was referring to the seizure of diaries by the IT department from Ispat Industries in which there is an entry of a payment of Rs. 2.28 crore to one VBS. BJP has alleged it refers to Virbhadra Singh.

Singh has denied the charge, saying he uses the initials VS and that he has not received any such payment.

"Here what matters is not how he (Singh) writes his initials but how the paying company recognizes him. These diaries were recovered during an Income Tax raid and have elaborate entries including the amount paid," Javadekar said.

BJP further alleged though the IT department had written to the vigilance officers of the concerned ministries, it did not follow up the issue for two years. It sought an explanation from the finance minister for this.

The opposition also raised eyebrows over how Ispat Industries was sold just 21 days after the IT raid to Jindal Steel which is owned by a Congress MP.

"What is still worse for the country that Congress party makes a virtue out of corruption and presents a fallen guy as a hero.... Congress is synonymous with corruption," Javadekar said.

BJP wondered how Congress is presenting Virbhadra Singh as the hope for the future of Himachal Pradesh in the coming assembly elections. "Congress is promising that he will give a clean administration," Javadekar said.

The opposition did not buy the denial issued by Singh in the case, saying he had issued similar statements when he was accused in a corruption case and had to resign from the union ministry a few months ago.

"He was denying the charges at that time also. Only after the court chargesheeted him, he was forced to quit," Javadekar said.

BJP also used this opportunity to attack law minister Salman Khurshid in a case of alleged forgery and Congress President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra in a case of alleged financial wrongdoing.

"Khurshid has been nailed in an open and shut case of misappropriation and forgery.... The law minister presiding over an unlawful activity is a painful picture. He has no moral right to continue in office. The law minister doing an unlawful thing is untenable. He should resign forthwith," Javadekar said.

Khurshid and his wife Louise are facing allegations of forging signature of officials to benefit the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust.

On the Vadra case, BJP said though his balance sheet shows he got an overdraft of Rs. 7.93 crore from Corporation Bank, the bank says the money was not given. "Congress also owes an explanation for this as they are defending a private individual," Javadekar said.

He maintained that to top all this, another sample of Congress culture was seen when a Gujarat MP from the party brandished a gun at a toll booth in Vadodra.


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